- England Head Coach delighted with Paris performance
- Lancaster turns attentions to Scotland
Although Saturday’s last-gasp defeat in Paris felt truly gut-wrenching, Owen Farrell says England’s attacking structures are in good order and the side is doubly determined to clinch their first win in the 2014 RBS 6 Nations at Murrayfield this weekend.
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In a defeat that had excruciating parallels with last November’s loss to New Zealand, Stuart Lancaster’s charges conceded two first-quarter tries before fighting back into the lead, only to be overturned with a late score from teenage replacement Gael Fickou.
And, in light of a fantastic middle 40 minutes that saw them record 18 unanswered points thanks to five-pointers by Mike Brown and Luther Burrell, Farrell admitted it was a particularly difficult result to stomach.
“It was very tough to get over,” explained the 22 year-old fly half. “People talk about putting in performances you can be proud of and that being all that matters.
“It definitely was a good performance, but it [the result] was not what we wanted and it’s probably more gutting for that reason. Having said that, you take out the learning from a loss a lot better than you do a win.
“You almost want to get out there and as soon as possible. We had a great two weeks’ preparation going into that France game and it showed in the way we played. We’ve just got to make sure we have another good week again before Scotland.”
Making five carries over the gainline including one clean break, as well as executing two offloads and distributing smoothly, Farrell was at the heart of one of England’s enterprising displays with ball in hand under Lancaster.
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He also played a key role in Burrell’s 47th minute effort – giving a perfectly-timed pass to Billy Vunipola, who in turn put the Northampton Saint clear – and said the collective understanding with ball in hand was excellent.
“I thought the way we attacked made it the most comfortable I have felt within the team. The amount of options the boys gave us was outstanding and that showed in the way we played. People were working hard off the floor all day to get back in the line – that was brilliant.
“The defence has to mark something and there are always gaps somewhere. It’s a matter of picking that space and if you have options all the time and are getting on the front foot like we did, it makes things a lot easier.
“There were a few mistakes in the first half from our offloading but I thought out intent to do that was brilliant. We’ll get better this week and we’ll make sure the majority of them are the right choices.”
Praising Lancaster’s constructive, cooperative environment as a crucial aspect in helping Burrell and 20 year-old wing Jack Nowell make “outstanding” Test debuts, Farrell finished by outlining his desire to emulate Wales’ 2013 campaign and clinch the Championship in spite of an opening-round reverse.
“I think we’ll make sure we prepare as well as we can do for Scotland and take each game as it comes,” he said. “But there’s no reason why we can’t win this still.”.”